Keeping track of passwords has been a pain – until I found Passpack. Passpack is a free, online password manager that I’ve been using for over a year now to keep track of most of my passwords.
Storing passwords online might set of some security warning bells in your head since you’ll have all your passwords in one place, somewhere any could try to get to, but I’ve convinced myself that using Passpack is safe and that they take security very seriously. Your password data is never sent anywhere unencrypted, meaning not even Passpack programmers could access your data. This means you have a login that does get sent to Passpack to access your account, but to ‘unpack’ your data you have to type in another password they call your Packing Key.
Another security benefit is that now I don’t reuse passwords like I used to. Trying to remember all the logins and passwords for all the websites I go to used to be such a hassle that I just used the same 2 or 3 passwords for everything. Passpack even has a nifty password generator that I used to create stronger passwords.
I was a bit worried initially about what might happen if Passpack was down (I’ve never seen it happen) or if I lost my internet connection, but they have all sorts of offline options including a simple export (which you’ll want to encrypt if you’re storing it locally) and Google Gears. I haven’t had a problem with getting Passpack from anywhere yet, but it’s nice to know that if I did I would have backup.
Ease of Use
Besides storing your passwords online, they make it ridiculously easy to login places. They have a button that you can add to your browser toolbar that automatically logs you into websites that Passpack knows your password for. It saves you from having to copy and paste stuff all over the place, although they make that easier too with one click copy to the clipboard without ever showing your username or password on the screen so you don’t have to worry about anyone shoulder surfing your info.
Besides all this, there’s some new features they offer that I don’t even take advantage of like secure message sending, and the ability to share passwords between accounts.
Passpack is now one of the first sites that I open when I start a browsing session. Perhaps one day OpenID or something like it will be ubiquitous and I won’t need so many passwords, but until then some sort of tool like this to help is essential.